<p>Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu</p>

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu

Credit: CBS

'Elementary' team talks 'Sherlock,' a female Watson and Moriarty at Comic-Con

Jonny Lee Miller had a Holmes conversation with Benedict Cumberbatch
SAN DIEGO - With new TV series panels at Comic-Con, there's a familiar panel structure. A show is scheduled for an hour and that means a 44 minute screening of the pilot, six minutes of applause, actor introductions and more applause and then five minutes of questions, usually not getting any deeper than "What drew you to this show?" before the panel is rushed to an end.
 
It's pretty unsatisfying and I have to assume it often leaves the talent wondering why they wasted three hours on the train down from LA.
 
I mention the typically empty new show structure as a way of complimenting the panel for CBS' new drama "Elementary," which took place on Thursday (July 12) in Comic-Con's Ballroom 20.
 
Somehow, with only 65 allotted minutes, "Elementary" screened its pilot and got in a solid 15 minutes of Q&A, which included decently direct questions from moderator Dalton Ross of EW, as well as a good selection of audience queries. I came away from the "Elementary" panel feeling like an awful lot of important points were addressed and like the crowd was mostly satisfied with the results. 
 
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<p>Michael C. Hall of &quot;Dexter&quot;</p>

Michael C. Hall of "Dexter"

Credit: Showtime

Comic-Con 2012 Live-Blog: Showtime's 'Dexter' and 'Homeland'

Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter and Yvonne Strahovski hit Ballroom 20

SAN DIEGO - After spending the morning live-blogging "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" press conferences, it's time to get down to the business of TV, y'all. I meant to get to the "Teen Wolf" panel, but I couldn't get in. I went to "Elementary," but I'll write about that later. So now? It's the latest panel for Showtime's "Dexter," an annual Comic-Con tradition wherein people ask Michael C. Hall about his own homicidal feelings, Jennifer Carpenter about how playing Deb has impacted her own swearing and the show's writers avoid saying anything at all about the season to come. 

Let's get down to business... And remember that we already knew that "Dexter" is returning on Sunday, September 30. 

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<p>Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Foy, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner of &quot;The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2.&quot;</p>

Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Foy, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner of "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2."

Credit: Summit

Comic-Con 2012 Live-Blog: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner's 'Breaking Dawn - Part 2' press conference

Plus, little Mackenzie Foy joins the fun in San Diego.

SAN DIEGO - By now, you've presumably had the chance to read the Live-Blog for the Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone and Ashley Greene press conference. But now, the moment you've most likely been waiting for...

Ladies and Gentlemen, the "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" press conference, featuring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Mackenzie Foy. 

Click through.

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<p>Summit hasn't released any Cullens pictures from &quot;Part 2,&quot; so here's part of the happy family in &quot;The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1&quot;</p>

Summit hasn't released any Cullens pictures from "Part 2," so here's part of the happy family in "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1"

Credit: Summit

Comic-Con 2012 Live-Blog: The Cullens' 'Breaking Dawn - Part 2' press conference

Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone and Ashley Greene meet the press

SAN DIEGO - I still vividly remember the shocking -- to those of us who hasn't properly internalized its phenomenon status -- response in Hall H for the very first "Twilight" Comic-Con panel. That was only a few years ago, but Comic-Con has changed since that panel, at least in small part due to the passion of the "Twilight" fanbase, and certainly the stars of the franchise have changed as well. And I'm pretty sure I've reported from a "Twilight"-centric panel or press conference at every subsequent Comic-Con.

Today's "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" press conferences -- Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Mackenzie Foy, plus Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone and Ashley Greene -- will be my last Comic-Con "Twilight" experiences [fellow HitFixers will be covering the actual Hall H panel and the press line]. Sniffle.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" press conference, featuring  Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Kellan Lutz, Nikki Reed, Jackson Rathbone and Ashley Greene.

Click through...

[Obligatory apology: I'm going to be typing fast. There's a very good chance I'm going to misspell "Renesmee" at least once and that I'm going to call the movie "Breaking Bad" at least once. In this blog, it's inevitable that I'm going to confuse Alice and Rosalie or forget Dr. Cullen's name. It's not that I don't know. It's just that I'm aiming for speed and quote accuracy. Sorry!]

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<p>This doesn't capture the tone of &quot;Political Animals&quot;</p>

This doesn't capture the tone of "Political Animals"

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 138 - Annual Roadtrip Edition

Dan and Alan talk 'Political Animals,' 'Breaking Bad' and drive to Comic-Con

The

As promised, it's a special midweek edition of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast, our third annual Roadtrip Podcast. 
 
Woo!
 
I think that after three shots, we've mastered the art of recording a semi-audible, moderately unpleasant-to-listen-to car podcast! I apologize for part of the semi-audible part. It's hard to talk directly into a microphone and keep your eyes on the road at the same time. I also apologize for some portion of the ambient noise. Greta isn't the quietest of cars.
 
So yeah. We're a little quieter than usual. And there's some car noise. [A lot of car noise.] But I beg you to remember Car Podcast 1.0. This is oodles better.
 
Anyway, it's a short-ish podcast because Sepinwall's battery was on life support, but we covered "Bunheads," "Political Animals" and "Breaking Bad" and also previewed Comic-Con a wee bit.
 
Here's the breakdown:
"Bunheads" (00:01:15 - 00:13:15)
"Political Animals" (00:13:15 - 00:28:15)
"Breaking Bad" (00:29:00 - 00:44:15)
Comic-Con (00:44:15 - 00:55:10)
 

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

<p>Chloe Sevigny of &quot;Hit and Miss&quot;</p>

Chloe Sevigny of "Hit and Miss"

Credit: DirecTV

Listen: Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 137

Dan and Alan talk 'Perception,' 'Hit and Miss' and more...

The

Happy Monday, Boys & Girls!
 
Did you miss us last week?
 
After taking a 4th of July breather, The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast is back for the first of two podcasts this week. 
 
If you're waiting for "Breaking Bad" and "Political Animals," we're going to be discussing those two, plus Comic-Con, in our Third Annual Comic-Con Roadtrip Podcast. 
 
In this podcast, we talk about TNT's "Perception," DirecTV's airing of "Hit & Miss," plus two episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," one of which is awesome and the other of which kinda sucks. And we answered a little mail.
 
Here's the breakdown:
"Perception" (00:02:00 - 00:14:45)
"Hit & Miss" (00:14:45 - 00:27:25)
Listener Mail - Reviewing shows (00:28:00 - 00:33:15)
Listener Mail - Writerly tics (00:33:20 - 00:39:49)
Listener Mail - Why "Cheers" still looks good (00:39:50 - 00:48:00)
Two "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episodes (00:48:15 - 01:12:50)

As always, you can subscribe to The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast over at the iTunes Store, where you can also rate us and comment on us. [Or you can always follow our RSS Feed.] 

And as always, feel free to e-mail us questions for the podcast.

<p>Eric McCormack of &quot;Perception&quot;</p>

Eric McCormack of "Perception"

Credit: TNT

Interview: 'Perception' star Eric McCormack discusses his twisty TNT drama

'Will & Grace' veteran knows just how much to spoil
For months now, TNT has been urging critics to say as little as possible about the new drama "Perception," for fear of spoiling the show's various twists.
 
Because most of those twists center on Eric McCormack's character, Dr. Daniel Pierce, I was wary that when I got on the phone with the Emmy-winning actor he might be cagey or entirely silent about his new role. 
 
Fortunately, McCormack is a pro and he has found a very good approach to revealing and discussing certain aspects of the "Perception" backdrop without giving away the entire store.
 
"I would love the idea that I can tell people honestly that this is a show about a brilliant professor who gets involved with his ex-student and helps her solve crimes for the FBI," says McCormack, recently seen on Broadway in "The Best Man." "If that's all you know, I think there are some really fun, interesting, surprising things in store."
 
If that's all you want to know about "Perception," you probably don't want to read this interview before Monday's (July 9) premiere. 
 
If, however, you want to hear more about McCormack's approach to Pierce's eccentricities, his eagerness to serve as a producer on "Perception" and getting audiences to move beyond Will Truman, click through...
 
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<p>Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan of &quot;Beauty and the Beast&quot;</p>

Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan of "Beauty and the Beast"

Credit: The CW

Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Beauty and the Beast'

The CW has given its best time slot to its worst new show

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show: "Beauty and the Beast" (The CW)
The Pitch: Unfortunately, the pitch isn't the problem, so I have nothing to say. They wanted to remake "Beauty and the Beast" for a new generation. I have no problems with that. But the pitch was probably "Let's do 'Beauty and the Beast,' but ours is gonna be more like 'Beauty and The Hot Guy With Anger Issues."
Quick Response: Like I said, the pitch wasn't the problem. The problem with "Beauty and the Beast" is the execution on absolutely every level. But even that, I can forgive. As I often say: Sometimes, pilots just don't work. It happens. And when a pilot fails as badly as "Beauty and the Beast" fails, you simply don't send it to series and you don't air it and you move on. In the pilot process, misses are part of the business. But I look at the "Beauty and the Beast" pilot and there's no element here that I can imagine future improvements being built around. I can't latch onto a source of hope. The adaptation of the basic premise is ludicrous and unimaginative: Something about military experiments and cross-species DNA and zzzzz. Kristin Kreuk, while unquestionably fulfilling the basic edict of playing the "beauty" in the title, is otherwise hilariously miscast. You know who won't laugh when her Catherine bursts through a door yelling, "NYPD. I've got a warrant"? Nobody, that's who. It's hilarious. And not intentionally so. And the interpretation of The Beast? Possibly even funnier than Kristin Kreuk as a badass Manhattan cop. As played by Jay Ryan -- yet another New Zealand actor with strong cheekbones and no clue how to do an American accent -- this alleged "beast" is basically unbeastly in every way. He has a scar, but not a scar that would impact his ability to be on the cover of Tiger Beat. Seriously, somebody with a bad haircut would be more aesthetically handicapped than this guy. Sometimes he kinda hulks out, but that's hilarious, too. The script is nothing but cliches strung together. A character actually walks in on a character believed to be dead and says, "You look pretty good for a dead guy." Ugh. If you're a writer in 2012 and you write a line like that without any irony or self-awareness... That's bad. And because nothing in the pilot really illustrates the story's core theme -- Because The Beast is a ripped hottie, Beauty hardly blinks before she starts getting naughty feelings in his presence -- somebody has to actually say, "Sometimes things aren't as they seem. You can't tell who the real monsters are." Does that mean that the hot vigilante hero might ACTUALLY turn out to be a beast, rather than just a misunderstood "Magic Mike" reject with some mutated genes? No. Probably not. The action in the present is cheap-looking and ridiculous. The mythology-driven stuff from Catherine's past (and Vincent's past) isn't involving in the slightest. I don't know what anybody involved, including usually sturdy director Gary Fleder and all of the top brass at The CW, were thinking here. Except that I do. They're ignoring the blunder and selling the brand. Yeah. That always works.
Desire To Watch Again: I watch a lot of bad stuff on The CW. I made it through a whole season of "Ringer" and all of the episodes of the new "Melrose Place." I'm also a faithful enough "The Vampire Diaries" viewer [and Phoebe Tonkin fan] that I stuck around after "TVD" to watch a full season of the generally average "The Secret Circle." I don't think I could watch another episode of "Beauty and the Beast." I guess I'll give "Beauty and the Beast" a second episode to see if there's any indication that anybody recognized the need for a massive overhaul, but that's it.

 

Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's '666 Park Avenue'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries

<p>Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams of &quot;666 Park Avenue&quot;</p>

Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams of "666 Park Avenue"

Credit: ABC

Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's '666 Park Avenue'

The supernatural meets real estate porn in ABC's newest guilty pleasure

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show:"666 Park Avenue" (ABC)
The Pitch: "Rosemary's Luxury Apartment Complex" or "Don't Trust the Demons in 666 Park Avenue" or "Dirty Satanic Money." Take your pick, really.
Quick Response: ABC's "666 Park Avenue" isn't a great pilot and it's unlikely to become a particularly good show, but it has a reasonably high quotient of proficiently handled goofiness and, at least for the first 44 minutes, I was content to giggle along with the derivative lunacy. On one hand, there's something to be said for mystery, mythology and obfuscation, but TV audience have been burnt so many times recently by TV shows that promise answers, but never get the chance to get out of the gate. With "666 Park Avenue" we establish within seconds that Terry O'Quinn and Vanessa Williams own a ritz Manhattan apartment and also possess a skillset of powers that almost certainly come either directly or variably indirectly from Satan or his Mexican Non-Union Equivalent [Either El Diablo or Senor Satano, I suppose]. It's "Needful Things" with Manhattan rent control and you don't waste time trying to get to the meat of the narrative. O'Quinn is, in particular, having a fantastic time with the lack of subterfuge. If he isn't twirling his mustache, it's only because creator Dan Wilcox wanted to leave some manifestations of malevolence to unfold in subsequent episodes. From Rachael Taylor to Dave Annable to Mercedes Masohn to Robert Buckley, the supporting cast is just full of actors and actresses whose strengths and limitations are perfectly designed for what is basically a real estate porn-driven supernatural soap opera. They all look terrific, but none of them is being asked to upstage the interior and exterior design, which get the true star treatment from pilot director Alex Graves. The address is the A-lister here and it's treated with every bit of the subtlety as its numeric associations imply. The "666 Park Avenue" pilot isn't full of genuine scares, but there are creepy things afoot. I guess my biggest reservation before crowning this as the season's best new guilty pleasure is that too much of what transpires will be familiar to anybody who has seen "Rosemary's Baby" or any of the countless films that have aped it over the years ["Devil's Advocate" would be a clear influence if "Devil's Advocate" weren't just a rehash of "Rosemary's Baby" itself]. The pilot is a *little* crazy, but I want it to be absolutely berserker. I want "666 Park Avenue" to follow the "Vampire Diaries" formula of eight-to-10 jaw-dropping surprises every episode. I want everything that transpires to make me go, "Did they really just do THAT?" as opposed to "Well sure. Of course that happened. Not bad." Even NBC's "Revolution," which I probably liked less than "666 Park Avenue" overall, had more moments that surprised me.
Desire To Watch Again: I think "666 Park Avenue" makes for a very compatible night of ABC programming with "Once Upon a Time" and "Revenge" and I'll say, without hesitation, that I preferred this pilot to last fall's "Revenge" pilot. It lacks the self-seriousness and literary pretense that irked me when "Revenge" rolled out. This is probably trash TV, but I think it ought to be fun trash and barring a real drop from the pilot, I'm assuming this'll be a Season Pass for me.

Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries

 

<p>Taylor Kinney of &quot;Chicago Fire&quot;</p>

Taylor Kinney of "Chicago Fire"

Credit: NBC

Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Chicago Fire'

Finally a drama for people who thought 'Rescue Me' was too complicated

[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots. I know some people will be all "These are reviews." If you've read me, you've read my reviews and you know this isn't what they look like.]

Show: "Chicago Fire" (NBC)
The Pitch:"Let's do a network-friendly version of 'Rescue Me.'" "So 'Rescue Me' only without the mature themes, instantly vivid characters, boundary-pushing language and humor?" "Yup. Those weren't exactly essential, were they?" "As long as we've got fires, it's all good."
Quick Response: A couple years back -- I remember this and maybe one or two viewers do as well -- NBC had an EMT drama called "Trauma." It had strong production values and a very solid cast and it was the kind of show which, if it had had a cable show's interest in character, could have possibly worked. Instead, I tuned out after three or four increasingly generic episodes. [I heard "Trauma" got a little better towards the end, but I needed something sooner.] Well, the Dick Wolf produced "Chicago Fire" is like "Trauma," only even more desperately in need of a cable sensibility, especially given how well similar terrain was covered in "Rescue Me." Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, the "Chicago Fire" has at least one decently executed inferno sequence that might really be a nail-biter if you cared an iota about any of the characters whose lives are ostensibly in jeopardy. Dick Wolf dramas have often struggled with the need/imperative to display deserved respect for the people in difficult and honorable professions, while simultaneously capturing the colorful ways people in those professions act. Here, Michael Brandt and Derek Haas' script gets bogged down in firehouse jurisdictional squabbles and barely sketched character details and then wallows in an even more frustrating self-seriousness. Jesse Spencer, battling an accent that probably should be dropped entirely, suffers most from the pilot's earnestness, which allows him to be frequently upstaged by "Vampire Diaries" veteran Taylor Kinney, who has charisma to burn. Yeah. I went there. And i feel awful about it. Sorry. This will become The Taylor Kinney Show if Spencer doesn't watch out. I'd be OK with that, but I'd rather watch The Eamonn Walker Show and, as is the case in nearly everything he does, Walker is underserved in the pilot and destined to be underserved in the series. Inevitably. The pilot could also stand to get more use from the often interesting Monica Raymund and several other familiar faces. The pilot sent to critics was at least two or three minutes shorter than the usual network drama. The right two or three character-based minutes could actually make a huge difference.
Desire To Watch Again: Very little. Like i said, there are actors I like in "Chicago Fire," but not actors I like enough to weed through the generic procedural stuff in the hopes that the character moments are better done in subsequent episodes. The pilot isn't an exciting version on the Dick Wolf formula and the version of "Chicago Fire" that I'd watch regularly isn't the sort of show Wolf has ever wanted to make.

Take Me To The Pilots '12: FOX's 'Ben and Kate'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: CBS' 'Elementary'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: The CW's 'Arrow'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: ABC's 'The Neighbors'
Take Me To The Pilots '12: NBC's 'Revolution'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots entries